Steve Daines

The tribal seal for the Little Shell Tribe of Chippewa Indians.
Little Shell Tribe / Montana Little Shell Tribe of Chippewa Indians


The Little Shell Tribe of Chippewa Indians is poised to get federal recognition any day now. Once the must-pass defense bill clears Congress, the Montana tribe will receive a land base and be eligible for federal funds after a generations-long struggle.

A bill proposing to settle long disputed water rights claims between the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes and the federal government includes a massive new bargaining chip: transferring the National Bison Range to control of the tribes. U.S. Senator Steve Daines is expected to introduce a bill to do that as early as this week.

Montana Senator Steve Daines and the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes announced Thursday that they have come to a new agreement that would settle thousands of the tribes’ water rights claims.

Daines says he will introduce legislation next week that, if approved by Congress, will bring more than a decade of negotiation over the tribes’ water rights to an end. Daines was not available for an interview, but provided this recorded comment.

A scubadiver holds a rock covered in quagga mussels on Lake Michigan in 2017.
Nicky Ouellet / Yellowstone Public Radio

Montana’s U.S. Senators on Wednesday introduced a bill aimed at stopping the spread of aquatic invasive species like zebra and quagga mussels. They have the potential to devastate hydro-electric systems and public water pipes and take over lakes.

Gov. Steve Bullock says he’s not sure what’s next for him now that he’s withdrawn from the presidential race. But he’s definitely not running for the U.S. Senate.

Bullock met with the state Capitol press corps for the first time Wednesday since dropping out of his long-shot bid for the Democratic Party’s nomination.

U.S. Office of the Attorney General / U.S. Department of Justice

KALISPELL, Mont. (AP) — U.S. Attorney General William Barr is traveling to Montana to speak with tribal leaders and law enforcement officials about missing and murdered indigenous persons and methamphetamine trafficking.

U.S. Senate Committee on Indian Affairs / U.S. Senate Committee on Indian Affairs

 

The U.S. Senate Committee on Indian Affairs advanced two bills this week that aim to beef up law enforcement’s response to the missing persons crisis in Indian Country.

Larry Barnes LB9 / Flickr (CC BY-NC 2.0)

A U.S. Senate committee on Tuesday advanced a bill that would mandate full funding of the Land and Water Conservation Fund at $900 million annually.

Olivia Reingold / Yellowstone Public Radio

The State-Tribal Relations Committee is pressing Montana’s Congressional delegation to do more to increase public input and tribal consultation on the Keystone XL pipeline. The move comes as the end of the public comment period for a recently updated environmental statement nears.

A close-up of industrial hemp, July 16, 2013.
Marcia O'Connor/Flickr (CC BY-NC 2.0)

Montana’s Democratic Senator Jon Tester said in a press call Thursday new federal regulations for hemp could create more certainty for farmers and boost job growth in the state.

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